Kids Go Gardening - peas in a pod

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Peas grow fast from seed. Eat them as sprouts or watch them grow into climbing plants with loads of pea pods to pick. There’s nothing like eating peas straight from the garden - just pop a pod open to find the sweet green peas inside. It’s the sweetest pea of all!

Did you know? A pea is a seed. The pea is only green because it is picked when still immature.  A ripe pea (seed) is more yellow in colour.

Build a teepee

Peas need somewhere to climb. A teepee makes a great climbing frame for the garden or build one in a large container. Make your teepee from sticks and twigs or bamboo stakes. Push stakes in firmly around the edges of a large container or make a circle in the garden. Tie them together at the top with garden string, then wind more string around the teepee frame to help the young pea seedlings climb. Once they produce tendrils, theyll cling on all by themselves. 

  1. Build a teepee or climbing frame in a sunny spot with loose crumbly soil or a large pot (or grow bag) filled with growing mix.
  2. Plant seeds about 2cm deep and about 10cm apart around and under the teepee.
  3. Water to keep the soil moist. It should never dry out but don’t keep it soaking wet or the seeds will rot.
  4. Feed your pea seedlings with liquid fertiliser once they are 5-10cm high.
  5. Cover the soil around your pea plants with straw or compost to keep their roots cool and moist.
  6. The plant may need some encouragement to climb the teepee so wind the shoots and tendrils onto the string.
  7. As the plants grow, they will start to flower. Peas are self-polinating - the pollen is transferred inside the flower and bees are not required. To get more peas to form in a pod, give the teepee a shake every morning to help transfer the pollen.
  8. Start picking! Peas are ready about 2 months after sowing. They taste best when young and tender. The more you pick the more peas your plants will make! The same goes for sweet pea flowers.

TIP: To help peas germinate faster, place them between damp paper towels the night before you sow.

Count the days

Peas are ready to pick about 70 days after you sow the seed. Check the packet to find out the days to maturity for your variety and make a mark on the calendar. Sow a batch of seed every second week so you’ll be picking peas for months!  Peas love growing in cool weather but they don’t like frost. If your winter is very cold sow peas in spring.

Peas love:

  1. Sunshine
  2. Loose crumbly soil or planting mix
  3. Water

Soil builders

Peas are legumes, which means they have a special power - special nitrogen fixing microbes that live in their roots take nitrogen gas from the air and turn it into food for plants. Dig your old pea plants into the soil to feed your next vege crop.

Super scented

A bunch of sweet peas is one of the sweetest, freshest scents of all. Old-fashioned varieties have the strongest perfumes. There are lots of beautiful varieties to try. Sow sweet peas in autumn to flower in early spring or in spring for summer flowers if your winter is very cold and frosty. But the seeds that form in pods after flowering are not edible!

Extra crunch

Snow peas are delicious and you can eat the whole thing - pod and all! In France they’re called mangetoutewhich means eat all'.

Fast food

Pea sprouts grow fast, and they’re good to eat. Pea sprout are baby pea plants, packed with nutrients. Try them in sandwiches or sprinkled over pizza or pasta. They are ready to eat in just two or three weeks and you can grow them from any kind of edible pea seed. Snow peas grow the fastest.

Starter pots

Pea roots don t like being moved once they’re growing but if your soil isn’t ready for planting yet you can easily sow seeds in biodegradable pots made from toilet rolls. The seedlings can then be planted pot and all, without disturbing their roots. The pot rots away as the plant grows.

Look for these products, tips and advice at an Go Gardening garden centre near you.



Create a teepee in a large pot with bamboo stakes and plant 2-3 pea seed at the base of each stake.

A germinating pea seed.

Pea plants showing the flowers and tendrils that support their upward growth.

A crop of pea pods nearly ready to pick and eat.

sweet peas
Colourful but not edible sweet peas.